One of the many benefits of being a member of an Official BMW club is that you automatically become a member of a national and international family. You have access to events organised by any Official BMW club worldwide.
At the Australian level BMW Clubs Australia is our umbrella group, representing all the Australian BMW clubs at the International Council and organising a national get together every two years, called “the Nationals,” traditionally over Easter.
This a is great opportunity to meet, or catch up with, BMW club members from different parts of the country – people you may not get to meet any other way but who share a passion for cars and BMWs in particular.
One year the Nationals are for the car clubs, the next year its bike clubs. 2019 was for cars.
The usual format is registration on Good Friday afternoon followed by a meet and greet in the evening with a Show of Excellence (Show and Shine by another name) and motorsport on the Saturday. Sunday is usually a drive day with a presentation dinner in the evening.
The meet and greet on Friday evening was a stand up cocktail format event at the Nationals “base”, the Novotel St Kilda.
Without the constrictions of seating, this provided an excellent opportunity to freely move around and talk with different people over the course of the evening.
Having been to five previous Nationals there were quite a few people we knew or had met before, so it was good to catch up with them, find out what is going on in other BMW communities, swap experiences and generally trade opinions on where BMW is going as we head into the mysterious world of electric vehicles and hybrids.
We also encountered some new faces. It was particularly pleasing to meet some members from South Australia where the BMW Club.
Altogether it was a very enjoyable and enlightening evening.
Saturday dawned with weather that was just about perfect for a car show.
The raised area between the grandstand and the pits, overlooking the pit lane and track, was a perfect location for the show and surprisingly, quickly filled up. This is one of the nicer problems to have as an organiser but fortunately there was plenty of space adjacent to the display area for the overflow. There were some really nice, and unique cars there which do not often get out on show.
Having 43 cars to be judged was an excellent response but made a lot of work for the judging teams. Each pair of judges look at a different aspect of each car - I had volunteered to be a judge and was allocated interiors.
Judging is pretty easy if only a few cars present to a high standard. But in this case we had a hard job! Scoring is done on a comparative basis, that is, the best gets a score of 100 and the rest get lower scores based on that. The rules for this sort of competition are that if the car can not be improved by cleaning it is not marked down. So, not a concours event where originality and perfection (eg no paint chips) are important.
Such was the level of preparation that nine cars scored over 90 on interior. It was very hard to fault several cars, which is commendable.
With 43 cars to get through, one has to make a decision pretty quickly on each of the listed areas (dashboard, front carpets, etc). five minutes per car still works out to nearly four hours!
Although judging is fairly hard work (I was physically exhausted by the end), it is enjoyable. A forced opportunity to look at so many different and lovely cars, some of which we don’t usually get to see, with their variously endearing qualities.
We had a fabulous weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the Nationals.
Lawrence Glynn | Member #3
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
On Sunday, two drives were offered, finishing at the RACV Club at Healesville.
The longer drive was intended to use the Warburton-Marysville loop, but portions of that road had been closed by fires earlier in the week so an alternative drive was selected.
It took exactly two roundabouts for half the group to go the wrong way, but the errant cars were corralled by one member who lived locally and led them to rejoin the route at St Andrews. From there we went up the narrow, twisty road to Kinglake then cruised through scenic but dry countryside to a coffee stop at Yea.
We then cruised back through Toolangi and enjoyed the twisty road back down into Healesville.
Remarkably, the group arrived at exactly the same time as the shorter-drive group.
The RACV Club is beautifully situated, looking across gardens and the golf course to the nearby mountains.There was plenty of opportunity to mingle over pre-lunch drinks.
In the forecourt, a display was arranged of each numeric model of BMW from 1-er to 8-er – with an X5 looking on to represent the X range (unfortunately no Zs present).
A good lunch and a viewing of the display brought the drive day to an end.
Peter Williams | Member #36
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
After lunch, we had the option of travelling on our own or in a group back to St Kilda. I decided to return to St Kilda via GPS with no tolls selected, resulting in a very interesting drive through the Yarra Valley.
After a bit of a rest, I got cleaned up and dressed for the presentation dinner. We all loaded onto the waiting bus and travelled to the MCG where we were welcomed by the MCG staff and shown the MCG sports museum. At the museum we were able to wander around at our leisure for 30 minutes or so.
Then it was up to the Jim Stynes Room for the presentation dinner, presenting of awards for the show and shine and a few speeches including the announcement of the next nationals to be held in Canberra 2021!
After a great night, it was back onto the bus to the Novotel.
Monday morning I had a relaxed breakfast with SA member, Jamie and his son, then packed up my room and car, signed out from hotel and with a few goodbyes to fellow BMW club members and set off to Torquay and the Great Ocean Road, destination Warrnambool.
Mike Summers | Member
BMW Drivers Club of SA
Towards the end of Sunday evening, I announced that BMW Car Club Canberra will be hosting the BMW Clubs Australia Nationals in 2021.
Although I didn’t want to be controversial, I did announce that we will be breaking tradition and moving away from Easter. This is for a number of reasons, mainly because the National Folk Festival is held in the ACT over Easter and finding accommodation is near impossible. I was pleasantly surprised to see that overall this news was well received.
The dates that were selected coincide with Canberra Day in the ACT, Labour Day in Victoria, Adelaide Cup Day in SA and Eight Hours day in Tasmania. Although not a long weekend for all, it does make allowances for a number of states.
There are plenty of positives to come from this too - better weather, extra attractions such as the Balloon Festival, Lights! Canberra! Action! Film Festival and various other activities that will help highlight the ACT.
We are delighted to be hosting the Nationals, it will be some 18 years since it was last hosted in the Nation’s Capital and we really hope to make it the best one yet!
Luke Wise | Member
BMW Club Canberra